The structure of in-cylinder flow field makes significant impacts on the processes of fuel injection, air–fuel interactions, and flame development in internal combustion engines. In this study, the implementation of time-resolved particle image velocimetry (PIV) in an optical engine is presented. Flow field PIV images at different crank angles have been taken using a high-speed double-pulsed laser and a high-speed camera with seeding particles mixed with the intake air. This study is focused on measuring the flow fields on the swirl plane at 30 mm below the injector tip under various intake air swirl ratios. A simple algorithm is developed to identify the vortex structure and to track the location and motion of vortex center at different crank angles. Proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) has been used to extract the ensemble and variation information of the vortex structure. Experimental results reveal that strong cycle-to-cycle variations exist in almost all test conditions. The vortex center is difficult to identify since multiple, but small scale, vortices exist during the early stage of the intake stroke. However, during the compression stroke when only one vortex center exists in most cycles, the motion of vortex center is found to be quite similar at different intake swirl ratios and engine speeds. This is due to the dominant driving force exerted by the piston’s upward motion on the in-cylinder air.

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